Fractal Design Define R6 excels at hiding cables and components
A modernized refresh of a popular caseBy Greg Synek
Fractal Design's Define R5 proved to be a popular choice among system builders last year and held a spot on our Best of PC Cases. Greater modularity with vertical GPU configurations, more RGB lighting and support for larger radiators have become priorities for many case manufacturers. The Fractal Design Define R6 has been introduced to improve upon the shortcomings of the Define R5.
One major change to the Define R6 over the previous generation is that there is now officially support for E-ATX motherboards up to 285mm in width instead of only supporting a maximum of ATX form-factor boards. With a redesigned interior, the Define R6 has support for 420mm radiators on top, up to 360mm in front and nine different mounting locations for fans. A combination of steel and tempered glass form a structure that is rigid and noise dampening while still taking cooling into consideration. Both left and right side panels have extra insulation on the version of the case without glass.
An included fan control hub accommodates up to six case fans and three PWM devices with assistance from your motherboard. Two 140mm fans are pre-installed on the front panel with a single 140mm exhaust fan at the rear. Bottom, front and top vents have removable dust filters to help prevent debris from coating your components. When building, the case can be torn down to just a bare frame.
There are six trays for mounting hard drives that can be completely hidden behind a modular plate if desired. Removal of the plate allows the case to be configured in an open layout, providing better air flow and optimization for custom liquid cooling loops.
The front I/O panel includes two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports alongside power button and audio jacks. It would have been nice to see at least one Type-C port and all four USB ports using the USB 3.1 spec but Fractal is selling an add-on module to add Type-C.
The Connect D1 adds one USB Type-C port using USB 3.1 Gen 2 to provide 10Gbps connectivity to the front of your case and will be available in Q1 2018 for $29.99.
Extra features for aesthetics such as the power supply shroud and storage plate offer a very clean look through the tempered glass side panel. At first look, the Define R6 has all the makings of a modern enthusiast case that the Define R5 lacked. Fractal is also going to be one of the few manufacturers to offer its own PCIe extension kit so you can mount your GPU vertically. Fractal's Flex VRC-25 is a shielded 210mm ribbon cable with full-size PCIe slot that will be available for $39.99 in late January 2018.
Fractal's Define R6 is available now for $129.99 with the Define R6 Tempered Glass version going for $149.99.